Grateful Dead Live at Uptown Theater on 1981-02-27
Alabama Getaway-> Promised Land, Friend Of The Devil, Cassidy, Loser, CC Rider, It Must Have Been The Roses-> Minglewood Blues
Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain-> Estimated Prophet-> Eyes Of The World-> Drums-> Not Fade Away-> Wharf Rat-> Sugar Magnolia, E: Don't Ease Me In
Collection GratefulDeadBand/Artist Grateful DeadVenue Uptown TheaterLocation Chicago, ILSource flac16; Matrix by Hunter Seamons using Final Cut Pro (SHN & FLAC > AIFF > Final Cut w/EQ work > AIFF CD tracking via Audacity > FLAC16 via xACT w/meta-tagging)Transferred by Hunter Seamons
When I first started listening to matrixes in 2006, it was specifically with volume two of Chris Chappell's masterwork Sick Bits series, which was the entire three-night stand at the Uptown Theatre in 1981. As a long-time Chicagoan, and because these were incidentally the first concerts the Dead played after I was born in January, I was naturally drawn to listening to these recordings. Not surprisingly, I have read different reviews of these shows where each performance has been lauded as the "best night" of the run, which speaks to the high praise of this Uptown trifecta as a whole and why Chris decided to include them all in one volume to begin with, and so early in the series. The Dead were obviously on fire right out of the gates in 1981, and the very impressive spring '81 tour is where this incendiary new energy was headed. This was the last time the Dead would play at the Uptown due to it becoming heavily flooded later that winter from water pipes bursting during a deep freeze, making it beyond immediate repair. The venue still exists today in a dilapidated state, with hopes of it one day being restored - after 33 years.
I lived within walking distance from the Uptown. It has always been a kind of mythical place in the Dead's concert history for me, particularly because of the consistently amazing shows that were played there and the very ornate architecture of the theatre, which was built in 1925 as the largest movie palace in America with "an acre of seats" - 4,381 (imagine seeing the latest Chaplin film with that many people). Also true among Dead lore is that it was a great sounding venue, and the audience tapes consistently convey this. The Uptown always seems to exude a sonorous and intimate sonic energy that pulls the audience in for an especially magical evening.
Of course I thought it would be awesome to matrix these shows, but I never considered it worthwhile since Chris's matrixes were already of such fantastic quality. Then, until only recently, new tapes of this run emerged out of the woodwork by prolific Chicago taper, Mason B. Taylor (a great photo of him just so happens to appear on page one of "The Official Book of the Dead Heads"), which provide a new aural landscape of these historic concerts when compared to Barry Glassberg's tapes that Chris used. While perhaps not as clear and defined as Barry's recordings, Mason's cassettes more so capture an airy spaciousness and raw, electrified energy that works well with the crispy yet flat soundboard tapes. Jerry's guitar also resounds more prominently in Mason's pull, which always seems to makes things sound nicer.
With some excellent new sources in the trading pool, there was no resisting giving at least one of these Uptown shows a shot. This matrix of the 27th is my first foray into this run, seeing that it's the best sounding audience tape of the three nights Mason captured. The 28th is the second best sounding recording, while the 26th is more muffled and boomy sounding due to a different microphone placement. So here is the cream of the crop from the '81 Uptown run, Mason Taylor style (and Dan Healy style, of course). I hope matrix listeners will find this to be a pleasurable new experience of a very fine night in Grateful Dead history, which features a Scarlet Fire of blinding brilliance amidst a non-stop second set. If you've been searching for the sound, you might find some of it here.
Set 1 was matrixed in Chicago, Illinois, one mile west of the Uptown Theatre.
Set 2 was matrixed in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
March 31, 2016
The Best Matrix Of One Of The Best Nights Ever Played !!!
This is a stellar matrix recording of a stellar "X" Factor show. Run, don't walk, to get this baby into your hard drive as soon as possible. This is the best show of the Chicago Uptown troica and one of my all-time favorites. Hunter just nails this mix. The Boyz' mics are seriously up-front but aren't hot and obnoxious - and Jerry is singing particularly well tonight - which is a HUGE plus! This mix with headphones on is so fine, I simply don't know what to do with myself!? Five "X" Factor stars for both the show and the Matrix. Killer Diller baby... just Killer Diller !!!
This upload puts you Dead Fucking Center ten rows up and hands-down beats Chappel's matrix. Well maybe that's being hyperbolic but, I absolutely LOVE this mix. Having a slightly mellower sound, it's not quite as tinny as Chappel's (which is a good mix) but, this is a GREAT mix - one of the best I've heard in quite some time - while using such a strong board. That transition into Fire and the Mountain body is just so freaking sweet! I have always felt this was the best Scarlet > Fire ever done. And I'm starting to come to the conclusion that it was. All of Pre-Drumz is to-die-for! This mix reminds me of the primo 12.1.79 Stanley DFC FOB I've had for over five years. If you're searching for THE sound boys and girls, Hunter may be right having given it to us for this historic night. Bravo sir and many thanks for uploading something solid to add my little extra magic too. What a beautiful show!
With all that said, it is rather daunting having to continuously review significant shows on The Archive and download new additions to the library... subsequently tossing older versions. But for quality like THIS, it's well worth the trouble.
Hey Hunter, I was wondering if you could review the new Stankiewicz/Froggy upload of 8.19.80 and see if it's matrix-compatible with the older balcony recording. The Froggy recording is fat fat fat with lots of audience and the balcony capture is thin with more band and much less audience. It could make a wonderful AUD Matrix (since the board is not that great.) I drool at the possibilities. Thanks. BTW, if you are in Chicago, I'm in Wilmette. I'd love to buy you a beer sometime and just listen to your stories. firstname.lastname@example.org
November 18, 2014
the scarlet fire transition is not for the faint of heart, it sounds like jerry has secretly found his way into the fire before the rest of the band had dialed in . and then finally when you towhere you are being taken by the master to the inevitable end of space and time do you realize it was not a secret at all and good ole jer was on a whole nother wavelength that knew where he was leading us muaiClly before he went there. this is magical bc you can hear his guitar find an oasis like a maze he is just playing in until it apparent. I picture a mouse that has found his way to the honey hole before the other mice and to watch this mouse lick ALL the sweet nectar before the other mousies arrive he goes there and it is to a magical and secret place.... I hope you enjoy